Festival about to get underway

Scottish contemporary folk group Rallion visit Kirkcaldy Acoustic Music Club later this month
Scottish contemporary folk group Rallion visit Kirkcaldy Acoustic Music Club later this month

East Dunbartonshire’s Thomas Muir Festival - celebrating ‘Local History, Art and Culture’ between 13 and 24 November 2014 – is about to get underway.

Now in its fourth year, the Thomas Muir Festival is working with over 40 local groups and businesses across East Dunbartonshire to deliver a unique community festival for all the family.

Building on the success of last year’s events, the festival has a wide and varied programme of music, concerts, folk music, art, school theatre, walks, canal cruise, stained glass workshops, theatre, panto, school art exhibition, kids’ activities, local history talks, participation events and much more.

The festival is being organised by local charity Friends of Thomas Muir supported by host partners East Dunbartonshire Council and the Leisure and Culture Trust, local businesses, community groups, schools, heritage and history groups.

Highlights include:

Sat 15 November - Cadder Church will host a Trails and Tails stained-glass workshop with a professional artist, where kids and parents will work on their own stained-glass art with the results then exhibited. Free event, limited tickets.

Wed 19 November - Lenzie Academy hosts this year’s prestigious Local History Symposium on the theme ‘Radical Women and the Struggle for Equality’.

Principal speakers include: Elspeth King on the ‘Suffragettes’; Katie Hunter of the Scottish Women’s History Group on ‘Four Quaker Women’ (who promoted women’s rights during the 19th century); and actress Janette Foggo (National Theatre of Scotland, 7:84, etc) on ‘The Search for Dramatic Heroines’

There will be a welcome by East Dunbartonshire Provost Una Walker

Chair - Professor Gerard Carruthers, University of Glasgow

Friday 21 November - Comedy night at the Glazert Hotel - an evening of laughter with four of Scotland’s finest comedians! Headlining the event is Gary Little and compere for the evening is Anna Devitt who is an award-winning comedian and actress (she played Peaches in ‘Rab C Nesbitt’).

Friday (21) Cadder Church Concert featuring the Kirkintilloch Male Voice Choir and guests

Friday (21) Corbie Ha’ Folk Night in Milngavie - with Iain Ingram (singer-songwriter), Hector Cruikshank (small pipes), Donnie Graham (poet) plus additional guests in a unique wee venue - not be missed.

Saturday 22 November - Folk night featuring Rallion (one of the most respected bands on the Scottish music circuit), Comhla Ri, Righteous Guitars and The Unplugged Banjo at Bishopbriggs Community Church. Promises to be a great night.

Local History talks at the Shoenstatt (a rare insight into the Campsie Glen and Ballencleroch with Father Michael) and Aldessan Café - both in the Clachan of Campsie

Special book launch of a new historical novel about Thomas Muir, titled ‘The Liberty Tree’ by Murray Armstrong. Music and poetry readings with Tam Craven, pensioners’ afternoon tea and music, children’s haunted library evening and art sessions - all at Bishopbriggs Library

The Fort Theatre in Bishopbriggs will host productions written and performed by Bishopbriggs Academy pupils, ‘Keep Calm I’m Going to College’ by Antonine Youth Theatre, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ by Hopscotch Productions and a behind-the-scenes tour of this year’s Antonine Players Christmas panto.

Local libraries will also be involved, helping to provide information and hosting Indie Authors Scotland events - offering talks and self-publishing workshops, while East Dunbartonshire schools are taking part in an art competition with finalists pictures to be exhibited at the Thomas Muir Coffee Shop

Councillor Alan Moir, East Dunbartonshire Council’s convener of Development and Regeneration at the Council, said: “I am delighted the Festival is going from strength to strength and this year will include more of East Dunbartonshire than ever before.

“I hope there is a good attendance at the many events taking place - which cover everything from the life and times of Muir to the suffragette movement.

“We have a wonderful heritage in East Dunbartonshire - including strong links with renowned Scottish figures such as Muir, Tom Johnston and more.”

Other highlights include: a wide range of events at the Avenue in Bishopbriggs that will be featuring a special Thomas Muir Ale; music, open mic night, art exhibition, jazz afternoon, etc.

In addition, Kirkintilloch Players will be performing ‘Conversation with Tom Johnston’ at William Patrick Library, while the Forth & Clyde Canal Society will offer a Robert Burns-themed cruise along a section of the Thomas Muir Heritage Trail, with music, a talk and special guest. There will also be a history walk from Balmore to Cadder Church, and a community pensioners’ event with Lennoxtown School of Music.

East Dunbartonshire History and Heritage Forum will introduce the ‘Talk and Tidy’ local history events at Twechar, Mavis Valley and the Kirkintilloch Aquaduct, where local history groups will give a short talk on their selected site of local importance, followed by a site clean-up, where school children and families can help tidy the site and at the same time promote civic pride within their local community. Participants will receive a special TMF Volunteers certificate.

Meanwhile, Brackenbrae House’s crafty ladies will present an exhibition of 3D decoupage pictures, make-and-take paper crafting and sale of old Glasgow prints.

And at Mugdock Country Park (Charlie’s Theatre & Bar) renowned jazz vocalist Lorna Reid will be in concert.

Jimmy Watson, Chair of the Friends of Thomas Muir, said, “A huge amount of effort has been put into making the 2014 Thomas Muir Festival bigger and better than ever.

“I hope people take the time to have a look at the diverse programme and support many of the events on offer, which are taking place across East Dunbartonshire.

“Thomas Muir’s life and legacy is as important today as it always was. I am particularly pleased that this year’s festival includes a special focus on women’s suffrage.

“There’s a terrific range of events taking place - for people of all ages and from all backgrounds.”

For the latest information and to book events, call into Bishopbriggs Library or William Patrick Library. Alternatively visit the Thomas Muir Festival on Facebook, twitter or go to www.thomasmuir.co.uk